One of my favorite passages in the Scriptures is Ephesians 4:29, which reads (from the NRSV translation): “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” The point is, whatever we say should build up others and impart grace (unmerited care/love). If we could each do that, then the world would likely be at peace. Even more, we should all be mindful of whatever we say.
But sometimes some of us just get carried away, or lost, or simply trapped in our own little world and become unaware that what we say may not be helpful or sensible at all, may not make a contribution at all…unless it’s to share a little (unwitting) humor. Witness these actual comments from some prominent people…
Half this game is ninety percent mental. (Danny Ozark, Philadelphia Phillies Manager)
We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need? (Lee Iacocca, Ford, then Chrysler CEO)
The word “genius” isn’t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein. (Joe Theisman, for NFL quarterback and football analyst)
If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record. (Mark Fowler, former FCC Chairman)
And my favorite:
Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances. (Department of Social Services in Greenville SC)
Hmmm…I wonder if anyone has reapplied?
You know, if we would just slow down our pace of living, find some quiet time and a little sanctuary space throughout the day, then I bet most of what we want to say, and what the rest of the world needs to hear, will sound just a bit more sensible, hospitable, and hopeful.
What do you say to that?